Jackson v Horizon Holidays Ltd
Court of Appeal
Citations:  1 WLR 1468;  3 All ER 92; (1975) 119 SJ 759;  CLY 393.
The claimant booked a hotel for his family, using the defendant (a travel company). He made clear his precise requirements in terms of food, facilities and accommodation. The cost was £1432. Shortly before the trip, the defendant informed the claimant that the hotel he wanted was unavailable. They offered him a £1200 substitute which they assured him would be just as good. The hotel provided poor service, did not meet the claimant’s requirements and had none of the facilities he requested. As a result, he and his family suffered emotional distress and inconvenience.
The claimant sued the defendant for misrepresentation and breach of contract. At trial, the judge awarded the claimant £1,100 in damages. He stated that he could only take into account the claimant’s distress, not that of the rest of his family. However, he thought that he could take into account the impact of his family’s distress on the claimant’s own state of mind.
The defendant appealed this finding, arguing that only the claimant’s distress could be considered. The claimant argued that the judge was wrong to hold that he could not recover damages for his family’s distress.
- When a person makes a contract for the benefit of himself and third parties, can the damage award for breach take into account losses incurred by the third parties?
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The contract was for a family holiday. This allowed the claimant to recover damages for his family’s distress as well as his own. However, the Court did not disturb the judge’s award. They thought it would have been excessive if it only covered the claimant’s distress, but was a proper award taking into account the full family’s distress.
This Case is Authority For…
When a claimant makes a contract for the benefit of himself and third parties, the third parties have no common law right to sue for breach. This is the doctrine of privity of contract. However, the claimant can sue for damages suffered by the others. Such an award is then to be treated as ‘money had and received to their use’.
In modern times, the family would have been able to sue on their own behalf under the provisions of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.